Fired the insulation company today. Up and kicked them off the site, before they could get started. A truck full of the wrong stuff...

I felt bad for the installer, for as usual, the trouble with labor is management, and as I am want to add, the trouble with management is ownership. In this case, the poor guy looked on helplessly, trying to find a pleasant word, something reassurring, in spite of the sad clarity of the moment.

I'm a cellulose guy. It's chewed up newspaper that insulates, and therefore has very low embodied energy in its life cycle, breathes well, minds its own business. I ask for only a few details: that the additive used for vermin and fire retardation be boric acid, an easily achieved derivative of the naturally occurring mineral borate, and that the sidewalls be wet sprayed, using only water to bond with the starches in the formula. The former because it's effective and inoculous compared to aluminum sulfite, the cheaper alternative; the latter because in vertical applications cellulose can settle (gravity wins again,) except that in my 25 damn years of experience with the stuff, in a proper wet spray application that cannot possibly happen.

So what do you think management of this particular company was thinking when they sent out the truck with an installer who looked visibly uncomfortable, and a truck full of insulation with aluminum sulfite-processed cellulose. Here's a close up of the warning on the packaging:
In case you can't see it, let me read the inscription: "NOT FOR USE IN SPRAY-APPLIED WALL APPLICATION." The reason for this is that aluminum sulfite, when mixed with water, can do some nasty outgassing at about the same time that it is turning very mean and corrosive. Add to that my own decision simply not to want aluminum sulfite in my home, nor to support its resource-intensive manufacture.

My not-so-complex question algorythm is 1) are they crooks, or 2) are they stupid, or 3) which would you like to entrust with the thermal performance of your home?

On the bright side, here's a pic of Scott and Val finishing up installation (correctly) of the clerestory windows.

I liked Maxine adding her touch in the previous post, even if it sounded a bit cheerleader-y for the home team. I think she has even more to say. I'll ask her about the color struggle she's having with natural clay plasters...